Representatives talk Referendums

Deferred Maintenance 

“Do you support a separation of $1.50, per credit, from the Brock University Students’ Union Strategic  Expansion Fund, to create the Brock University Students’ Union Deferred Maintenance Fund as per  the Memorandum of Understanding”?

YES SIDE, Christopher Yendt

  1. Explain why you are representing the side you are on for the referendum.

I am representing the ‘Yes’ Side of the Deferred Maintenance Referendum, and I am doing so for a very good reason.  In my role of Vice-President, Finance and Administration this year I have sought to make sure that the Students’ Union becomes more sustainable for the short medium and long term.  Whether that has meant the trimming of budgets, the renegotiation of transit service or the re-evaluation of Health and Dental coverage, all of this has been done in order to make the organization more viable for the future.  The capstone of this integrated plan has been the research and development to run the ‘Deferred Maintenance Referendum’.  I and the team around me have developed a plan that will not cost students any additional money, yet will address the longevity of the Student-Alumni Centre in years going forward.

2.     Why should students vote for the side you represent and not the other? 

The reason is research, we have worked hard to develop a clear plan forward to address the currently deferred maintenance projects which have not had the opportunity to be fully refurbished or replaced.  These include airhandlers and valves in our equipment room, variable frequency drives, the roof, freezers in Union Station and the list goes on. Through consultations we determined the appropriate amount would rest at $1.5o per credit, which will create a fund of approximately $120,000 per year.  This fund will allow for approximately 1/3 (~$40,000) to go towards yearly refurbishments, repairs and upkeep, while the other 2/3 (~$80,000) would be saved and used in the future for major repairs, such as roof replacement.  As the Fund will be a reallocation, there is no additional cost to Brock Students, and the 1/3 noted previously will go towards making BUSU sustainable, while the remaining 2/3rds is future planning for when our space is in need of major repairs.

3.     How will this referendum question impact current and future students?

By addressing the limitations on renovations for upkeep of the space, obviously students who spend a lot of time on campus notice that there are areas of campus which are lacking in upkeep. We want to make sure that the Student-Alumni Centre functions like it did when it was first constructed over 20 years ago, while at the same time remaining relevant and modern with what student interests are.  This reallocation of funds will allow us to do that. Keep in mind that the value of your degree comes long after you graduate, it comes when you apply for a job.  We want to keep the Student-Alumni Centre up to date now and in the future, so that Brock looks good for years down the road.

4.     Why should students definitively vote for your side and not an abstention?

Students should vote for the ‘Yes’ Side of the Referendum because this referendum was designed as a reallocation referendum and will not cost students any more money.  With that in mind abstentions can hurt the results just as much as ‘no’s’ can!  If students are unsure why they should VOTE YES then please come to Academic South all this week and get informed, read the blurb on the ballot before you vote, and check out our Memorandum of Understanding.  We want you to VOTE YES, but Deferred Maintenance is about being informed too! So make sure you check out our Facebook Page fb.com/DeferredMaintenance, stop us in Academic South or email Christopher Yendt at vpfa@busu.net with any further questions!

5.     What will this referendum side do for Brock University as a whole?

 It will do several things, the first is promote to Brock that BUSU is serious about creating a plan to deal with deferred maintenance, and the we will lead the charge when it comes to addressing these issues and ensure that our building remains accessible and up to date with student interests and various legislation. As stated previously it will help to enhance the reputation and image of BUSU as well as Brock University, when other universities get the reputations they have they certainly have maintenance plans in order to make sure that those carefully cultivated images are sustained.  This is our plan, this is a way to show that BUSU will not wait for the University, but rather will promote our own path to sustainability that will serve as a benchmark for other organizations around Brock.

 6.      What is the single most important point of your platform for the referendum?

That this referendum will not cost students any more money, it is a reallocation of funds that you already pay.  When researching this referendum we were conscious of the fees students are already paying, and the high levels of debt faced upon graduation.  Both of those reasons weighed heavily on the choice to find ways of gathering the necessary funds elsewhere, and that is what we have done.  If there is one thing to understand, it is that if you VOTE YES you will not see the cost of your education increase, it will stay the same but still allow you all the benefits of a well maintained Student-Alumni Centre, which will look as good and new as it did when it first opened over 20 years ago!

Turf field

“Do you support the transfer from the existing Brock University Students’ Union Strategic Expansion Fund levy in the amount of $1,000,000 divided over a five (5) year period to Brock University in support  of the construction of a new artificial turf facility in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding
as presented?”

YES SIDE, Cooper Millard

1. Explain why you are representing the side you are on for the referendum

WHAT’S UP BADGERS!? Thank you for taking the time to read up on your March, 2014 Elections!

My name is Cooper Millard, President of the Brock University Students’ Union. Last February, I ran a campaign for BUSU President and promised to pursue the construction of a Turf Field Facility on campus. After almost a year of work, the Brock University Students’ Union and the Brock University Students’ Administrative Council want to present you with the opportunity to make that promise a reality.

On January 21 of this year, the Brock University Administrative Council (BUSAC) elected me as leader of the “YES side” for the Contribution to Turf Field Facilities Construction Referendum, 2014. This is standard procedure whenever a BUSU-sponsored referendum is brought forward; after it is passed through vote, BUSAC elects a member of BUSAC – often a representative from the BUSU Executive Team – to run the “YES side” campaign!

… That was explained in 134 words, and Brock Press told us we could use 250! So I will take this opportunity to THANK YOU again for getting informed before you VOTE!

Check your Brock email, March 25-27!!!!!

2.     Why should students vote for the side you represent and not the other? 

Students should vote YES for the Contribution to Turf Field Facilities Construction Referendum, 2014, because it will not cost them ANY additional fees!

Students should vote YES for the Contribution to Turf Field Facilities Construction Referendum, 2014, because it provides Brock University with the opportunity to build a fiscally responsible, accessible, durable and safer facility for available to ALL of our students, by September 15, 2014!

Students should vote YES for the Contribution to Turf Field Facilities Construction Referendum, 2014, because they know that Brock University is tired of being one of only 4 Universities in Ontario, who’s campus does not boast this type of quality facility.

Students should vote YES for the Contribution to Turf Field Facilities Construction Referendum, 2014, because hours of operation and usage rate of this facility will nearly double our existing field usage capacity (for academic, varsity, intramural and recreation purposes) with the synthetic turf technology’s proven durability, consistency and added lights.

Students should vote YES for the Contribution to Turf Field Facilities Construction Referendum, 2014, because if you don’t, this opportunity will come and go faster than your time here at Brock University!

–        VOTE NOW!

3. How will this referendum question impact current and future students? 

This referendum will impact current students by transforming their campus, providing them with a facility that comes standard on almost every campus across Ontario. Brock University listed a Turf Field facility as a priority in their Bold New Brock campaign. It is an important capital project and one that the Brock University Students’ Union has been pushing for all year!

Here at Brock University, we have a rich history of varsity athletics, intramurals and are well known at large for many of our Faculty of Applied Health Science programs. Any current student voting YES for this referendum would further advance our ability to compete on all three levels; our students would have a better outdoor facility for research, and classes; our athletes would have a better home field; and, any student participating in intramurals will notice a quantum leap in the playability, access and safety of playing surface.

Future students will benefit from these facilities for all of the reasons listed above, and in answers one and two! Similarly, our Homecoming will no longer be hosted in a mud pit! We will now be able to showcase our school spirit on a fantastic new field. A field that someday… may even be home to a varsity football team!

But before any of this can happen… we need YOU to VOTE YES!

4. Why should students definitively vote for your side and not an abstention? 

Students should definitively vote YES, because of all the reasons listed above and… because we deserve better facilities here at Brock University!

You wouldn’t vote no, because this referendum will not cost students ANY additional fees! Instead, BUSU chose to access the Strategic Expansion Fund Levy in partnership with the University and external donors, as we did in 2006 to contribute to the construction of the Matheson A. Learning Commons (at the base of the Tower).

You wouldn’t vote no because you think the field will take too long to build… because it states in the MOU that if this field is not started by July 14, or finished by September 15, Brock University will not receive this contribution – we want this field NOW!

There is no need to abstain; after reading up on your March Elections, you’re well informed and ready to make an educated decision!

Lastly, and arguably most important, the first point in the MOU states that:

As the University Community grows, there are additional space needs in order to serve the student population. This includes (but is not limited to) student recreational space, concert or event space, facilities for Athletics, Recreation Services and intramurals and Club space.

Therefore, you wouldn’t vote no because you can’t access, or won’t use the field… because the MOU dictates that this facility must benefit ALL students on campus, and be open to everyone, regardless of your interest!

 5.  What will this referendum side do for Brock University as a whole? 

Most of the benefits of this project have been talked about already, however, I’d like to speak to one of the benefits this project adds to Brock that not many people know about.

In 2015, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be moving downtown St. Catharines. Unfortunately, this means that we lose the Sean O’Sullivan theatre and all of the great events and student projects that take place in there. This also means that we lose hundreds, if not thousands of positive interactions with folks from the greater Niagara community to come on campus to watch and enjoy these great events.

With the construction of a Turf Field, Brock University has the opportunity to replace some of those important community interactions and events. This is especially important for youth in the Niagara region. Instead of seeing a play in Sean O’Sullivan, youth can participate in a wide array of sport summer camps, come on campus to watch our athletes from the stands, or participate in organized sport (soccer, football, rugby, etc.).

Guelph, McMaster, Laurier and Western use their fields for the very same purpose: to encourage younger members of the community to come on campus and have positive experiences. Beyond the interactions with the community, these opportunities can create student summer jobs, sponsorship opportunities, not to mention concerts, conferences and other events!

Because we know we’re a better school than the ones listed above, why don’t we also offer the same experience for our community?!

6. What is the single most important point of your platform for the referendum?

It is difficult to pinpoint which is the most important quality of the Memorandum of Understanding (essentially, the “platform” or “contract” of this referendum). There are three principles in there that stand out the most… The fact that if the project has to be finished by next September (September 15, 2014)… The fact that the field must benefit ALL students on campus… or that the construction of this field will not cost students any additional fees.

I believe that the this point, that the Contribution to Turf Field Facilities Construction Referendum, 2014 will not cost ANY additional fees, is the most important given the sensitive nature of increasing ancillary fees. Because of our ability to access the Strategic Expansion Fund Levy, NO STUDENT at Brock University will have to pay an extra cent for this to be built or maintained. Students have spoken, BUSU has listened: this project is a joint capital project between Brock University, BUSU and generous donors from the community…

We just need you approval for the go ahead! If you have ANY questions or concerns, PLEASE follow up!

Tweet: @CoopMillard/ email: president@busu.net, or

Join the Facebook group: VOTE YES! #BrockTurfField

THANKS FOR READING!

– Coop

 

FED UP 

“Do you support a $2.80 per credit fee to fund Fed Up The Affordable Food Project, as per the Memorandum of Understanding?”

YES SIDE, Em Heppler

1. Explain why you are representing the side you are on for the referendum

Students have been fed up with limited and expensive food choices for a long time

now. Passionate students through The Affordable Food Project have highlighted

the following challenges that students face…Food is too expensive on campus… A burger, fries, and a small drink should not be more $12+. The Affordable Food Project wants to put an end to price increases and actually see the price of food drop on campus. Grocery shopping is inaccessible, timely, and inconvenient… the closest grocery store is 4km away, bus service is limited and sometimes non-existent at certain times for many students. Taking taxis is expensive and even for those students who have cars, our grocery delivery and pick-up program will save them money and give them a wider range of choice because we order in bulk and Healthy, and accessible options are limited…There aren’t enough healthy food options on campus, especially for students who are looking for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, Halal, or Kosher choices. We will be providing more options and will work hard to improve food options for every student. Clubs wanting food don’t get enough support…We’ll be giving clubs more help getting food for their events and fundraisers. More and better food means better events, more students engaged, and a stronger Brock Community.

2. Why should students vote for the side you represent and not the other?

VOTING YES ­ will mean cheaper food, more healthy choices, a grocery delivery

program, initiatives to improve vegetarian, gluten­free, Halal, and Kosher options,

all­you­can eat servings, student jobs, and support for clubs, student events, and

fundraisers that need food.

3. How will this referendum question impact current and future students? 

Imaging a campus where you can get something healthy and filling to eat for $4.

That’s what The Affordable Food Project will bring to Brock students. Students shouldn’t have to choose not to eat because they can’t afford it.

 4. Why should students definitively vote for your side and not abstention? 

Students hunger for change. Abstaining would be a half baked idea. For students

looking for more information, you can find the budget and history of Fed Up The

The Affordable Food Project wants to squash student debt. It wants to stick a fork in high prices. Student interest and The Affordable Food Project are like two peas in a pod. Voting is as easy as pie.

5. What will this referendum side do for Brock University as a whole? 

Food choices and prices impact the mental health and well being of all students.

The Affordable Food Project is proud to be part of Brock University and we think

better, healthier, more affordable food will make Brock an even better home for

so many students.

6. What is the single most important point of your platform for the referendum?

The Affordable Food Project is an innovative student project with one main goal. Help students eat better, by saving students money on food and providing more food choices on campus. Fed Up is a non-profit run by Brock students. VOTING YES – will help save students money on food. To get involved see www.FeedBrock.org.

 “No” sides were either unrepresented, or did not respond to inquiries for comment. 

Answers are printed as submitted, and have not been edited by The Brock Press.

 

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